EUGENE — One of Ashland's most electrifying players, Quaid Walters had done just about everything for the Grizzlies heading into Friday's prep football game at Willamette — except get into the end zone.
That changed against the Wolverines, as Walters returned a punt 40 yards for a touchdown and caught a 31-yard pass from Connor Kaegi for another score to help the Grizzlies quickly pull away in a 50-8 Midwestern League rout at Wolverine Stadium.
Kaegi completed 6 of 9 passes for 203 yards and three first-half touchdowns, RJ Atteberry had three catches for 114 yards and two touchdowns and Walters' punt return score is believed to be the first for a Grizzly since 1996, as Ashland (5-3, 4-2 MWL) upped its season-best winning streak to three games heading into next week's showdown with rival Eagle Point (5-3, 3-3).
"We weren't looking ahead to Eagle Point because we hadn't proved anything on the road yet," Ashland head coach Charlie Hall said. "It was very important for us, and we challenged them to come out with the same intensity and execution that we've demonstrated at home."
Ashland quickly set the tone, converting a fourth down on its opening drive before Kaegi hit Atteberry about 40 yards downfield on what turned out to be a 60-yard touchdown.
Two minutes later, the Grizzlies' defense forced the Wolverines (1-7, 0-6) to punt, and that's when Walters dodged several would-be tacklers on his way to the end zone.
"It was a great run," Hall said. "He set it up really well and pinballed around. That really got us going."
Three minutes later Walters struck again, this time hauling in a 31-yard pass from Kaegi to give the Grizzlies a 22-0 lead with still 4:14 to go in the first quarter.
Ashland ended up outgaining Willamette 431 yards to 302, including 317 to 161 through the air.
"I think their plan was to make us beat them through the air," Hall said, "and (Kaegi) just took advantage of it."
Danial White led the Grizzlies on the ground with 42 yards rushing on seven carries.
The Southern Oregon volleyball team picked up its 20th consecutive win against Corban Friday night, sweeping the Warriors 25-23, 26-24, 25-17 in Cascade Collegiate Conference action at the Jeffer Sports Center.
Southern Oregon improved to 15-8 overall and 11-2 in conference play, while Corban fell to 3-17 overall and 1-13 in the CCC. The Raiders return to action Saturday afternoon, when they will travel to Eugene for a 1 p.m. conference matchup with Northwest Christian.
Mona Goudarzian led Southern Oregon with 10 kills, while Haley Kasler added eight and Liz Madden tallied seven. Caryn Westrick finished with a team-high 17 assists and Renee Yomtob posted 13 digs. The Raiders hit only .174 as a team in the match but used eight total blocks to help earn the win. Chandra Teague's 15 kills led both teams, as did Katherine Salness' 29 assists.
The Raiders used an early 6-1 run to take a quick lead in the first set, but Corban slowly worked its way back and tied it up at 13-13 on a block by Jenny Harman. The set remained close the rest of the way, with the Warriors hanging one back at 24-23 before a kill by Madden clinched the victory.
College Cross Country
CORVALLIS — The top-ranked Southern Oregon men's cross country team placed a close second to University of Victoria at the Oregon State Beaver Classic while the SOU women earned a sixth-place spot Friday evening at Avery Park.
Eric Avila led the Raiders with a second-place finish, crossing the finish line of the 8,000-meter race in 24 minutes, 32 seconds to beat everyone but unattached runner Matthew Clowes (24:22). Tyler VanDyke, an Eagle Point High graduate, placed 11th (25:02), Jared Hixon finished 12th (25:10) and Scott McIntyre took 13th (25:12). An 18th-place finish for Brett Hornig and a 19th-place finish for Nathan Normo gave SOU six of the top 19 finishers.
Prep Water Polo
Ashland's girls won two games and the Grizzly boys won one in the South Salem Tournament at the Kroc Center at Salem on Friday.
The Ashland girls defeated South Salem in overtime, 7-6, and Sprague, 10-7. The boys triumphed 13-1 over South Salem. In girls, Sabrina Scoggins led Ashland past South Salem, scoring four goals to go with an assist and two steals.
Sadie Kasiah had two goals, three assists and six steals; Emma Frantz had a goal, an assist and two steals; and goalie Kaya Boehm four blocks.
Against Sprague, Scoggins again led the way with five goals. Kasiah had three goals and three steals, Elisabeth Tapport a goal, an assist and a steal; Maddy Longshore a goal and an assist; Boehm three blocks
On the boys side, Nathan Markovich turned in four goals for the Grizzlies, and Cole Harding had three goals and a steal. Jericho Walker-Roberts notched two goals and a steal, and Tristan Gavin scored twice and had a steal. In goal, Miles Furuichi had five blocks and Ethan Croyle three.
Play continues today in the tournament.